If you're a mom who has had your fill of cartoon adventures and zany mishaps, then you may be looking for something different to watch with your kids this summer. You might be tired of typical kids shows and movies, especially if you've seen a lot of them. Luckily, Netflix always has a solution for your viewing woes. The Golden Compass is coming to Netflix this August and it could be exactly what you're looking for.
The full list of shows and movies coming to Netflix in August won't be released until July 25, but Romper can exclusively reveal that The Golden Compass will have its Netflix debut on August 1. There's a possibility that the movie will be familiar to you: it first came out in 2007, and was based on the beloved His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman. It was inspired specifically by the first book in the series, Northern Lights (known as The Golden Compass in North America). However, despite the fan following of the book series, reactions to the movie were mixed. That may have prevented the other two novels from being adapted to the screen, leaving the cinematic trilogy incomplete.
But even though the film wasn't received with unanimous praise, that might be the very reason to give it another chance.
The Golden Compass is set in a fantastical universe where everyone has a companion known as a daemon that takes the shape of an animal and represents their soul. Protagonist Lyra Belacqua (Dakota Blue Richards) is joined by her daemon Pantalaimon, who hasn't settled on a shape yet; instead, Pan is constantly shifting from one adorable creature to the next. But it's not all cute CGI critters. This world can also be a very dangerous one.
Every story for children seems to feature some kind of oppressive ruling party putting a damper on everything, and in this it's the Magisterium. They aren't the only issue, either. Local children are vanishing, being taken by "Gobblers" and brought up north for some unknown purpose. When Lyra's friends are taken too, she has to go on a journey to save them. In the process she might just learn something about herself, and the people around her.
There are plenty of appealing but untrustworthy adults around to steer Lyra in the wrong direction while she figures everything out. Nicole Kidman's villainous Mrs. Coulter has a particular interest in Lyra, and a mysterious past with Daniel Craig's Lord Asriel. Eva Green rounded out the impressive cast as the witch Serafina and several other well-known actors lent their voices to the movie, including Ian McKellan, Freddie Highmore, Ian McShane, Kathy Bates, and Kristin Scott Thomas.
Though The Golden Compass had an interesting story and a cast full of talented actors, it didn't end up being a critical success or a box office smash. Entertainment Weekly suggested that the adaptations didn't adequately capture certain qualities of Pullman's books, or perhaps the film just came out at the wrong time. That could mean it's ripe for reassessment, which you can do as soon as it makes its way to Netflix next month.
The movie could also offer you something different than the usual kids' fare. Though it doesn't get as close to the books' darker aspects as some fans might have liked, it is an aesthetically pleasing movie that tackles some complicated themes. Watching it may inspire a foray into the books it's based on, too. But if nothing else it's a great way to prepare for the new adaptation coming to BBC One. A release date hasn't been announced yet, but Deadline reported that Dafne Keen and Lin-Manuel Miranda are going to be in it, so it sounds like it can't be missed.
There are plenty of reasons to give The Golden Compass another shot, and you'll get the opportunity to try in just a few short weeks.